Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Our Radio Discussion Continues

Food for thought ... from every angle ...

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the “Inside Radio” blog you posted the other day. 
I might have mentioned this before — I went to school with Greg Easterling. 
He and I worked together for a couple years at WPGU when we were both going to the U of I in Champaign.  He was a year ahead of me, if I’m not mistaken. 
If they did a poll of everyone who worked at WPGU in 1977, asking who on the staff they thought would be working in Chicago radio in 2019, I have a feeling Greg’s and my names would not have made the top ten.  He and I were radio geeks, but we kept a pretty low profile back then. 
Greg’s comments were quite accurate.  That got me thinking.  Oldies and classic rock fans and listeners are a loyal and intelligent bunch and passionate about the music.  And they have definite opinions about what they like when it comes to music on the radio.  Someday, perhaps in conjunction with a concert, someone should schedule a Q&A with the artist immediately following the performance — and, at the same time, they should have Greg (or another radio person — I wouldn’t mind doing it) up on stage fielding inquiries from the audience about radio.  I’ve noticed that most of the questions and complaints about radio focus on the same things (e.g., rotations, commercial load, repetition), and those of us on this side of the microphone can explain the method-to-the-madness. 
As I said earlier, at this point in the evolution of music radio, there really are no big mysteries and there are no accidents.  Music stations — especially in the top markets — know what they’re doing.  The industry’s best practices get copied by everyone very quickly. 
Rick O’Dell
I love the idea of a radio forum … especially if you and Greg BOTH participated …
(I had no idea that you two went to school together … what are the odds that those would be the two commentaries I would run that day!!!) 
I could probably even convince Ron Onesti to put on such an exhibition at The Arcada Theatre in conjunction with some popular classic rock type artist … I’m just not sure how big an audience would respond to such a venture.  (We may have to do the Radio Q&A FIRST so that people will stick around to see the main attraction!  Lol)
But I think it WOULD offer up some good solid information and insight into the inner workings, as to the why’s, what’s and how’s, of radio, 2019.  And who knows … some inspired questions from the audience just may open an eye or two on the OTHER side of the spectrum, too.  (I have always adopted more of the “Why WOULDN’T that work” philosophy.) 
Maybe Ron will see this and be inspired to seize the opportunity for a specific tie-in.  (The upcoming Tribute To The Beatles’ White Album might be a good one … but I’ve got a feeling that that show will already run long enough all on its own with that incredible line-up of artists, featuring songs from The White Album along with their own, best-known hits!)  Still, I’m sure we could come up with something between all of us!  (kk)

And, of course, as expected, we got any number of responses from readers after our “Inside Radio” piece ran … mostly far more negative than positive (as might be expected) … but my motive all along for the past twenty years has always been “How can we make radio more interesting and exciting for ALL of us?”  Countless times I’ve used the argument, when told people don’t listen for more than 20 minutes to an hour at a time, “Then give them a REASON to stay tuned in.”  Give them something worth listening to … something to hold their attention … something to come back for and I believe people will come back to the radio.  I especially feel passionate in this respect for the people of OUR age who listen to the oldies on Me-TV-FM and Classic Rock on The Drive … because we all grew up listening to the radio … it’s part of our DNA … and it truly does insult us when a station limits itself to the same 200-300 songs each day when we ALL grew up together, exposed to ALL of the radio changes that came along during this period.  We ALL listened to ‘50’s rock and roll, The British Invasion, the soft rock ‘70’s, the disco era, the hard rock / classic rock era … heck, even the influence of that short country boom thanks to “Urban Cowboy” … we’ve heard it all … and absorbed it all.
I keep going back to Mason Ramsey’s adage … “Music Of The Ages” … because THAT truly is The Soundtrack Of Our Lives” that we all experienced … and I believe that, within the context of Special Programming, you can deviate from the norm now and again to offer up something different that isn’t always on the menu, every other day of the week.  And I believe listeners will react and respond to those little surprises in a most positive way.  But we’ll never know if we don’t try it.
(What I DO know is that I pushed for the very format that Me-TV-FM now embraces for nearly 20 years, trying to convince anybody who would listen that this concept would work if only somebody would give it a try … and low and behold, you guys have proven me right.)
Now I’m trying to get Classic Rock Radio to embrace the same concept.  Boasting a library of 3000 songs and then only playing 200 of them means nothing.  Most stations only roll out those other tracks for specialty weekends or A to Z countdowns.  I’m saying mix that variety in on a regular basis and give your listeners a reason to stay tuned to hear just what the next surprise may be.
The Drive does this better than anybody else … they regularly run features that cause listeners to crack a knowing, satisfied smile and raise an eyebrow … because THAT works, too.  (And their increase in ratings proves it.)
Unfortunately, most of that has been attributed to the whole new “gameshow mentality” that embraces the station.  Listeners of OUR age … your CORE audience … are perfectly content with the focus being on the music … but The Drive runs a nice balance of both to satisfy both the listeners and the accountants … and in radio today, you really can’t ask for much more than that!  (kk)

Thanks for the Greg Easterling email.
Truth be told, we boomers have consumed the ‘instant gratification cool aid’. How long do you wait for an app/email/link to open before saying “screw this”? Impatient comes with age.
I am currently listening to Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM channel 21. Good stuff and good background. 
Until LSUG, I had never heard these gems: 
Blow Wind Blow. Jimmy Rodgers
Party’s Over. Strawberrys
Pack Fair & Square. J Geils
Sent from my iPhone with best regards,
I will agree that my tolerance for bullshit is WAY down these days!  (lol)  It’s frustrating sometimes … you can’t help fix something the other guys doesn’t think is broken, no matter how good your intentions are … especially when the ratings prove them right.  (That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement in EVERYTHING we do.  Lord knows I’d sure like to do MY job here better … but I also have to squeeze all of this into “restricted hours” … I KNOW I could do so much more if I only had the time, money and resources to do so … I would ALWAYS keep pushing for the limit.)
Then again, while some may say “Let’s not do anything to upset the apple cart when things are going well,” I’m inclined to think that the fact that things ARE going well ought to buy you a little bit of leeway to experiment with a new idea every now and again … test the waters, so to speak, and just see what else might appeal to your listeners.  (While I get the fact that it may be the way of the world these days, the fact that you have to “bribe” your listeners to tune in make me wonder just how “loyal” a listener base you’re building.  Back in the OLD days, we used to tune in to our favorites because we LOVED what they were doing and didn’t want to miss a beat.  Today the focus seems to be much more mind-set of BUYING this listenership, almost as if to say, we know what we’re feeding you is crap, but we’ll PAY you to listen.)
Don’t get me wrong … this is absolutely NOT the case with either The Drive OR Me-TV-FM … BOTH stations provide QUALITY broadcasting and offer a blend of music that true fans love listening to.  It just all seems a little bit “tainted” to me these days, the way it’s presented.  (Then again, I’m one of those idiots who PAYS for Sirius / XM to hear virtually the same music everybody else is playing anyway … sans Little Seven, perhaps … I’ve heard REALLY good things about his program … will have to check it out one of these days.)  kk

I read with interest your missive addressing song choices on oldies radio and mostly share your sentiments.   I hear some obscure song now and then that I've never heard by some wonderful artist with dozens of hits and figure some kid DJ pulled out an old album, played it and said, 'Oh, boy!  Oh, boy!  I like that song!' and put it into rotation. 
Meanwhile ... here I am, pushing 1000 and thinking, 'What inna...?' 
So I remember back to a very old (hah!) lady of 50 raving about Big Band music and how it'd never come again and wah wah wah wah. (Voice over 'Peanuts' adults.)  So I figure we've just moved up a rung and our music has graduated into the rich, recorded musical culture of this great land ... andtry not to mind. 
(But I'm still griped about the CONSTANT Christmas season holiday music!)

When you say "Sweet Child of Mine" topped some Classic Rock charts, didn't you mean "Sweet Girl of Mine" by the Cryan’ Shames???
I was surprised by "Another One Bites the Dust" being a #1 on such a list.  That song (along with "We Will Rock You") are two of the lesser Queen songs, as far as I’m concerned, as being GREAT.  I love Queen, but there are so many better songs by them over those two.  Certainly, "Play the Game" is one.  Just because it doesn't fit the "sports theme" or TV commercial themes, doesn't mean it is not great.  "Don't Stop Me Now" was a fave of mine by them until it suddenly was famous via TV.  It was almost NEVER played when a single.  "'39," "You're My Best Friend," "Now I'm Here" are fabulous, but don't fit the sports/commercial themes that make airplay of a different type.  WHY classic rock plays "Under Pressure" or "Fat Bottom Girls” / “Bicycle Race" over "Keep Yourself Alive," "Killer Queen," "Spread Your Wings," or "Liar" are beyond me.  They are playing the lesser GOOD songs in favor of the commercialized songs.
The Stones get similar treatment.  "Miss You," "She's So Cold," "Beast of Burden” and "Shattered" get so much airplay over classics like "Start Me Up," "Angie," "Brown Sugar" and most of the 60's hits.  WHY?????
Clark Besch
They play “Miss You” as if it was the biggest hit The Stones ever had.  I have been concerned for years that anyone discovering The Rolling Stones for the very first time based on THIS song is just going to figure they were a disco band from the ‘70’s … which, of course, is nowhere near the truth.  (Although I did hear that they performed an awesome, extended much bluesier version of the song at their Soldier Field gig.)
We hear PLENTY of Stones music here in Chicago … and it is all over the map.
The Rolling Stones currently have 74 songs nominated for our MOST ESSENTIAL CLASSIC ROCK SONGS list, which is considerably more than most of the other artists.
For the longest time, “Gimme Shelter” led the pack … but lately “Satisfaction,” “Start Me Up,” “Brown Sugar” and “Honky Tonk Women” have been raking in the votes, too.  (In fact, “Satisfaction” actually overtook “Gimme Shelter” last week … it appears to be the ULTIMATE Classic Rolling Stones song.)  If we tabulated the list today, The Stones would have an incredible THREE songs in The Top Ten … and two more to round out The Top Twenty, giving them a full 25% of the twenty most popular tracks.  (Not even The Beatles have that … only one of their tracks made the cut (“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”), although “Here Comes The Sun” would currently come in at #21.  The only other act with TWO songs in The Top 20 right now is Aerosmith.
But then again it’s ANYBODY’S game once the first official Final Ballot goes out on July 5th … so be prepared to vote for YOUR favorites each and every day to help us determine DEFINITEVLY The Top 3333 Most Essential Classic Rock Tracks of All-Time.  (kk)

>>>Neal Sabin is adamant about not streaming Me-TV-FM out of Chicago.  I feel he is greatly limiting his audience with this philosophy but, as it has been explained to me, advertising to a market outside our local area benefits nobody … and those listening via streaming do NOT contribute to your overall cume when it comes to the ratings … so from that respect, I can see that there is no financial benefit to streaming.  Still, they’re doing something VERY unique here and it’s working … why not share it with other cities who would KILL to have a station like Me-TV-FM on their dial.  (kk)
I have a friend who is a firm believer in stations NOT streaming too because it "devalues their stick" or antenna.  You drive them away from your main source. 
I think they should have geo-fenced or blacked out their home markets when they started this.  That way, they could stream worldwide but force you to listen OTA at home.  But that cat is already out of the bag. 
When #1 WBEB in Philly was singly owned, Jerry Lee would NEVER stream either.  Now Entercom owns it and they are shaping up to be whores.
Still, I would disagree with Sabin for this reason:  Me-TV does not have a city grade signal so even in the metro you have people who can't receive it due the "FrankenFM" dial position ... all radios simply cannot receive it.  Streaming solves that problem … with crystal clear reception.
Oh well, I should have such problems.
JR Russ
In theory I like the idea of the local black-out … like they used to do with sporting events back in the old days … and then if the event sold out, they could run the game over the air for the benefit of all the fans who couldn’t or didn’t get tickets.
But you bring up a very good point …
A major downside is the fact that Me-TV-FM doesn’t offer a strong enough signal to allow you to listen all day long (which potentially WOULD increase ratings if you were listening to the live radio broadcast)
Add to that the fact that once you’re at work, you can’t listen at all … so now you’re listening to something ELSE instead of your favorite station … which COULD cost you listeners in the long run if they find something else that they like.  How does THAT benefit the overall picture for the station?
We live in a different age where people get their entertainment thru alternate means that better fit their schedule.  (Who would have EVER dreamed in the ‘60’s that we could “time-shift” of television viewing and never miss a single episode of anything if we chose not to!!!)
And streaming is a HUGE part of that.  Truth is, there are PLENTY of Internet-Only stations that provide a better variety and wider range of music than ANY terrestrial station can ever hope to … and now, since I can’t get Me-TV-FM in my car, I’m listening to things like WCFLChicago.com and Rewound Radio thru my Bluetooth device … technically, I don’t have miss Me-TV-FM at all!  (But I DO stream their Milwaukee feed both in the car and at work because I think they do a GREAT job with what they’re allowed to work with.)  And, I just really like these guys!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Regarding Greg’s comments from the Drive … I grudgingly understand what he is saying, which is basically that people want to hear the same songs over and over. 
I personally don’t know who wants to hear Stairway to Heaven that often, but so be it. 
The point he misses, I think, is that if you gave people something else, they just might go for it.  Throw in the occasional song that didn’t make the top 10 and people will be more interested.  Not much of a deviation from their agenda, but it sure would be interesting for many of us.
The point I take most exception to was his point that when legacy bands like the Stones, the Eagles, etc. put out new albums, no one buys them.  That’s because radio doesn’t play them! 
All those old bands’ new music gets ignored by classic rock, the same stations that will play all their “hits” again and again.  You can hear “Night Moves” all day long but a new Seger song?  Nope.  That’s not gonna happen.
That’s not the listener’s fault … it’s that radio chooses to ignore the older artists in favor of newer names.  Very sad and very wrong.  A lot of people don’t even know there’s new music by some of their favorite artists.
So it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.  “The older artists’ new music doesn’t interest our listeners”.  Yes, that’s because you’re not giving it to them.  When McCartney got “some” traction with new music last year, his album went to No. 1. 
But they all do it.  Even “the River” type formats, “alternative”, will play one song from a new Springsteen album for a few weeks and they’re done.  I remember when all of his new songs from an LP got played on the radio.  Radio seems to assume everyone wants to hear Imagine Dragons and young bands and not new music from Cheap Trick, The Stones, Bruce, and other “older” artists. 
Imagine if a classic rock station played “Surrender” and then followed it up with a new song by Cheap Trick.  What an idea!  I know, I’m dreaming but I don’t know why that’s so difficult to fathom.
I totally agree … even if it’s just within the context of “New Release Fridays” or something where throughout the course of the day they feature let’s say four tracks from the brand new Springsteen / Stones / McCartney album … and then take feedback from their listeners … What did you think of this one?  Which one should we play again?  Which one(s) should we add to the play list?  SO much new music is being ignored, even by some of the biggest names in the business.  (Part of that is owning up to the fact that you are essentially playing Dinosaur Rock.  We fought this whole “labeling” issue with Oldies … you couldn’t use the word … because you were calling your audience “Old.”  WTF!!!  Face the facts … if people are tuning in to Me-TV-FM or The Drive, your audience IS old!!!  It’s the music … this timeless music … that makes them feel good again … young again … don’t tiptoe around it … EMBRACE it!!!  (You wouldn’t exist without it!)  And that’s the cold hard facts … so play to your audience … because odds are, they’re just like you!  They’ve heard it all and they’ve seen it all … and they know what they like.  Give it to them.  Be that one station in town that’s playing This, That and The Other!  (kk)

Who listen to the radio?
Certainly not me.
I might be more inclined if they played the above song, by the Sports.
Greg’s and Rick's comments in today's (6/19) FH posting pretty much confirmed what I've suspected for years ...
It's not all about the music.
Consultants have brainwashed programmers, who have brainwashed talent, who have in turn brainwashed their listeners.
To me a couple of the WORST features are Two Fer Tuesday and tracking album sides. Let's be honest … how many albums are all killer / no filler?
More than one programmer has stated the audience wants all the hits, all the time. I may be a minority, but how about none of the hits, all of the time?
Yes, there are great new songs by "classic" and new artists that aren't top 40, but you'd never know that listening to the radio.
Programmers use the excuse that it doesn't test well.
Have you ever participated in one of these? I have.
I don't know about you, but there had better be the music hook of all time in that 5-10 second time frame for me to say this song is the best thing I've heard all year. Whoever thought Two For Tuesday was a good idea, should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. Not only do you get one song by an artist you've heard a dozen times that week already (and it's only Tuesday), but now you get to hear two more. Lucky us.
I'm quite aware that there are music fans out there who simply can't get enough of their fave rave. I know, and I'm sure others know, people whose entire house or apartment is a shrine to their fave(s). My music memorabilia business depends on them!
My attitude is that a station should let the music do the talking.
I don't want to hear endless promos about “stay tuned for such and such feature at five.” In the time the jock wastes babbling about it, that time is better spent giving some background on the music and the artists they’re playing. Besides, regular listeners know the station's programming schedule, and new listeners will learn. 
Personally, I like money, just as much as anyone else, but if a station has to resort to bribing me to listen, you've lost me.
A dear friend of mine listens to WDRV almost 24/7, just to guess the artist. She'll call me up just to make sure she's got it covered. She usually does, but she always seems to be caller #6, when you need caller #7. It's easy enough to guess when your playlist is only 250 songs. It's just a matter of timing. 
Greg talks about the days of Chickenman, Uncle Lar' and Little Tommy and how they're not coming back. I’ve got news for you, Greg, although you already know it … classic rock is next.
Does WDRV play anything released after 1992? Much like we have aged out of top 40, your audience will age out of classic rock if only because they'll be dead, much like many of their music heroes. Many of our kids will carry on the tradition, but why didn't they carry on oldies?
Part of it is because we associate the music with a certain time in our lives. In a few weeks, there will be events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Your kids weren't glued to the TV like many of us were that night. (I wasn't as I had a hot date!)  Ms. Jack was all of three years old then and has no memory of it, other than it happened.
Certainly, the music is timeless, but it's also running out of time. 
It's not all about the music … it's all about the money.
Greg is correct in his assessment of forgotten radio stations.  However, he is missing an important point.
It's just a matter of luck that WDRV is still standing and WLUP isn't. Sooner or later Greg, you'll retire after a long career in a business that can be cutthroat. The same will be true for many of your contemporaries. You'll get a nice write up in Robert Feder's column and you'll. ride off into the sunset. The same goes for Rick.
But then what?
Some consultant will convince station management that heavy metal polka music is the format of the future, and we'll be inundated with music by Polka Floyd (there really is such a band!), and more. The circle starts anew.

Well, I, for one enjoy the little diversions that specialty features like Two For Tuesday and Album Sides Weekends bring to the table … they break up the monotony of what’s being played the rest of the time.
(Although I would be the first to admit … and have said so many times in this column … the Two For Tuesday feature needs more variety and imagination.  You don’t HAVE to play ten tracks by AC/DC in eight to ten hours … break it up a little and save some of those other tracks for NEXT Tuesday.  Sometimes it feels like the station pulled out twelve Greatest Hits CDs and then just played them, two tracks at a time, all day long … making sure that throughout the course of an 8-10 hour work day we all get to hear ten tracks by AC/DC, ten tracks (or more) by Led Zeppelin, ten tracks by Van Halen, ten tracks by Aerosmith, ten by The Rolling Stones with another eight tracks each by Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, Bon Jovi, The Cars and The Who thrown in for good measure.)
I could even accept Triple Play Thursday and Four For All Friday if they just mixed up the variety a little bit … think about how many “new” tracks you could feature within this context … and still slip in that obligatory “can’t live a day without it” track that listeners are apparently so starved to hear.
(Think about this for a second … “More Than A Feeling” by Boston … one of the most over-played tracks on radio today … came out in September of 1976 … that is almost exactly 43 years ago.  If I have heard this song AT LEAST one time I day EVERY DAY since then … and I truly do believe that I have, and probably more … that means that I have heard it AT LEAST 15,695 times since it came out (not counting the times I’ve played it myself on vinyl, cassette and CD.)  Is there really ANYBODY out there that TRULY believes that your most loyal listeners will tune you out and potentially not come back because they can’t live a single day without hearing it again??!?!?)  C’mon, Radio … DO THE MATH!!!
SO many of these songs have worn out their welcome … give it a rest for awhile and slip in something else … so that we can APPRECIATE this song again the next time it comes back on.  (For the record, “More Than A Feeling” currently ranks EIGHTH on our 3333 MOST ESSENTIAL ROCK TRACKS List, just behind “Gimme Shelter” by The Stones and just ahead of “We Will Rock You” / “We Are The Champions” by Queen … and yes, it deserves to be there … it has earned its spot thanks both to airplay and love and devotion … but we DON’T need to hear it EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!)
I agree that there are VERY few albums that I’ve EVER been able to listen to all the way through … that is why I continue to thank The Music Gods on a daily basis for the advent of the CD … where I can program EVERYTHING I want to hear.  iPod mentality at its finest I guess.
But within the context of “Album Sides Thursday” you get the chance to hear some “deep tracks” in the TRUE sense of the word that you just don’t get to hear on a regular basis anymore … tracks that YOU grew up listening to and loving that are part of your DNA … most often songs that you aren’t going to hear at all unless YOU play them for yourself at home or in the car.
So yes, I welcome promotions like this.
Next time you listen to Two For Tuesday, try and guess the second song.
Next time you listen to The Drive’s A to Z, try to guess the next song title alphabetically.
It makes for a much more fun and challenging listening experience.  (Like you said, you already know all the songs anyway, right?  Wrong!  Give it a shot and see how many times you guess wrong!  Betcha it’s at least half … and this come from experience … and I’m pretty damn good at it!)
I like things like we’ve pushed before on The True Oldies Channel … things like A-Sides and B-Sides (which doesn’t work as well within the context of Classic Rock Radio.) 
But how about First and Foremost … where you play an artists’ first hit followed by their biggest hit … or a Before and After feature where you could play something like “Yesterday” and then a McCartney solo track.  In the context of a Four-For-All (which is often the concept of a Block Party Weekend … betcha those’ll be coming up pretty soon now that summer has started) … you could play four key cuts from the same album (that solves your “filler” problem) … or something from four different phases of an artist’s career … or, in yet another Beatles example, one song each by John, Paul, George and Ringo.

In fact, TECHNICALLY we have a Four-Day Weekend coming up right around the corner for The 4th of July …

Here’s a challenge for the deejays and programmers on our list …

Come up with a 4-Way / 4-Day 4th of July special …

Whether you go 24/7 or sprinkle in one 4-Play every hour, you can keep listeners tuned in all weekend long wherever they are and whatever they’re doing.  (Why not provide the perfect musical background for their 4th of July cook-out?)

Want help with this?  I’m happy to pitch in.
Kick it around … one 4-Play every hour for the entire 4-Day 4th of July Weekend!

VARIETY … that’s what’s missing these days … and I like variety … and I’d be willing to betcha MOST people listening to the radio do, too … but we’ll NEVER know if we don’t at least TRY it and see what kind of feedback you get.
Which goes back to my earlier point … if things are going well, do you just continue to coast along (because the only way from there is down) … or do you try and find the next “niche” that’ll continue to help YOUR station stand apart from all the other cookie-cutter stations on the dial … in EVERY city … from coast to coast.  (kk)

Monday, June 24, 2019

It's The Monday Morning Monstrosity!

No Monday Morning Quickie this week …

This is a full-on, full-blown Comments Page …

So let’s get right to it …

Kicking off with …

Here is another GREAT offer exclusively for Forgotten Hits Readers …
But we’re going to have to move REALLY fast on this one …
Dan Conroe and The City Winery have just given us a pair of tickets to see Sergio Mendes THIS SUNDAY NIGHT (June 30th, 8 pm show) … 

We saw Sergio’s show last year and it was phenomenal …

You MUST register NOW to win a pair of tickets … and you MUST be able to attend as we won’t have time to reassign these seats.  (We'll be announcing the winner on Wednesday, the 26th)  

Don’t miss the great opportunity to see and hear one of the defining sounds in ‘60’s music … who has totally updated and adapted to the sound of today … you will NOT be disappointed.

Drop me an email NOW at kk@forgottenhits.com if you’d like a chance to attend.

(Meanwhile, tickets are still available for both the 5:00 and the 8:00 show here):

Other great City Winery shows coming up:
John Sebastian – July 8th
A.J. Croce – July 10th
Steve Forbert – July 14th
Mac McAnally – July 21st
John Mayall – August 1st
Gloria Gaynor – August 9th
Jim Brickman – August 11th
Dave Mason – August 13th and 14th
John Waite – August 22nd
Berlin (featuring Terri Nunn) – September 10th
David Cook – September 18th
Order tickets for ALL shows here:  https://citywinery.com/chicago/tickets.html

In addition to these City Winery shows, The Arcada Theatre and the Genesee Theatre both have some exciting event coming up …

July 21st – The Heroes of Woodstock, featuring Canned Heat and Big Brother and the Holding Company at The Arcada Theatre
July 23rd – The Righteous Brothers (featuring Bill Medley and Bucky Heard) at The Arcada Theatre
August 3rd – Burton Cummings at The Arcada Theatre (we’ll be there for this one … especially since we missed his show at The Genesee in May)
August 9th – Chris Isaak at The Arcada Theatre
August 25th – Frankie Avalon at The Arcada Theatre
August 27th – The Robert Cray Band at The Arcada Theatre
September 5th – Sweet at The Arcada Theatre
September 6th – Buddy Guy at The Arcada Theatre
September 7th – Quite Riot and Kix at The Arcada Theatre
September 8th – The Diamonds and The Crystals at The Arcada Theatre
September 13th – The Alan Parsons Live Project at the Genesee Theatre (we’ve already got our tix for this one … can’t miss an opportunity to see these guys … and with a new album out, this should make for a pretty interesting show)
September 20th – UB40 at The Genesee Theatre
September 21st – Tommy James and the Shondells at The Arcada Theatre
Also on September 21st – Orleans and Poco at The Genesee Theatre
September 22nd – Micky Dolenz at The Arcada Theatre
September 28th – April Wine with Asia at The Genesee Theatre
September 29th – Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals at The Arcada Theatre (3 pm show)
Also September 29th at The Arcada Theatre:  Air Supply (7:30 show) – tickets are sold separately for these two events
October 1st – An Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles’ White Album, featuring Christopher Cross, Todd Rundgren, Micky Dolenz (The Monkees), Jason Scheff (Chicago), Joey Molland (Badfinger) – THIS is the one I’ve been waiting for!!!
October 4th – Three Dog Night (aka Danny Hutton and two other guys you really don’t care about) at The Genesee Theatre
October 6th – The Yardbirds at The Arcada Theatre
October 12th – Blue Oyster Cult at The Arcada Theatre
October 15th – George Thorogood at The Arcada Theatre
October 19th – Kansas at The Genesee Theatre
October 20th – Engelbert Humperdinck at The Arcada Theatre
October 24th – Travis Tritt at The Genesee Theatre
Also October 24th – The Marshall Tucker Band at The Arcada Theatre
October 25th and 26th – UFO at The Arcada Theatre
October 26th – The Ides Of March with special guests Mark Farner (formerly of Grand Funk Railroad) and American Idol Runner-Up (and current lead singer of Blood, Sweat And Tears) Bo Bice.  (This should be a GREAT show with The Ides providing back-up for all the acts … put me down for THIS one, Jimmy!)
October 30th – Paul Anka at The Arcada Theatre
November 1st – The Fab Four at The Arcada Theatre  (STAY TUNED:  We’ll be doing a ticket give-away for this one!)
November 14th – The Drifters, The Platters and The Coasters at The Genesee Theatre
(now that’s kind of an unusual line-up for this venue … hopefully we can help to get the word out as there certainly is an audience for this music … although I can’t imagine that there’s a single original member left between the three of them!)
November 15th and 16th – America at The Arcada Theatre
November 21st – The Orchestra at The Genesee Theatre  (featuring former members of ELO / Electric Light Orchestra) … after seeing Jeff Lynne July 27th at The United Center, I’m sure we’ll be ready for more of his great music by November … and (other than Jeff himself), NOBODY does it better than these guys!
November 23rd – Humble Pie at The Arcada Theatre
November 30th – The Cornerstones of Rock featuring The Buckinghams, The Cryan’ Shames, The Ides of March, The New Colony Six and The Shadows Of Knight at The Arcada Theatre – ALWAYS a sell-out!
December 7th – Tower Of Power at The Arcada Theatre
December 15th – The Lettermen at The Arcada Theatre
(By the way, it appears we scooped the rest of the world by about ten days with our news of the passing of Lettermen founder and leader, Jim Pike … even Billboard Magazine didn’t report the story until nine days later, at which time all of the other news services picked up the wire and ran it on the 10th day.  Boy, he sure deserved a better send-off than this!)

You can order Genesee Theatre and Arcada Theatre tickets here:

Congratulations to Tommy James!!!
He’s been asked (by Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, no less!) to perform at the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo XI Moon Landing on July 13th at the Ronald Reagan Library in California!!!
Tommy’s hit “Crystal Blue Persuasion” (a summer favorite that is still scoring well in our Most Essential Classic Rock Tracks poll as well as having been prominently featured in our Me-TV-FM Summer of ’69 radio special last weekend) hit #1 on The Record World Chart that same day back in 1969!  (Man, I hope this is a televised event!)  kk

And, speaking of The Summer of ’69 …

kk …
I'm going to try to play the 1969 Summer Songs in Larry's Pub Jukebox.
I know you won't be surprised to hear –
The Ladies complain that I play too much 1950's Doo- Wop …
Songs that were popular before they were born.
Frank B.

Thanks so much for today's posting, Kent.  I never would have recalled this as the 50th anniversary … so much gratitude for your reminder ...
Peace, Brother kk!  
Ray Graffia, Jr. / The New Colony Six

Hi Kent,
Hope you are doing well.
Really enjoyed the M'Woky article, my friend.  I want to give kudos to Bill Balogh, (our resident knowledge keeper), for his piece. Bill is a great bass player, and good friend. Billy Taylor and I regret not being there, but life has it's twists and turns that affect us all. He kick-started some fond memories for me that I appreciate deeply.
Brother, keep the hammer down, and thanks for all the hard work.
Bless ya,
Barry Winslow
The Royal Guardsmen 

It was fun reading the 1969 charts.
I was 13 and growing up in northwest Ohio.
One reaction to the lists: Chicago had better taste than the rest of the country. 
wonder if the difference was more a function of what the listeners liked / wanted or more based on the radio stations’ playlists, which, of course, might have been influenced by motives other than ratings. Payola, anyone?  Not in Chicago, I’m sure.  
In any case, Chicago was listening to better stuff. 
Steve Roess 

Were the lists that different? Chicago had the 1910 Fruit Gum company listed, how did the rest of the Country miss that?
Hank Arnold
Between the two lists, 39 of the songs listed were common, leaving 11 others unique to each list.  Funny you should mention the 1910 Fruitgum Company song … I heard Me-TV-FM play that one Friday night as I was drifting off to sleep!  (kk) 

As a fan of the old WLS Silver Dollar Surveys, I came across Joel Whitburns's Record Research website. He has collected the all of Top 100 Billboard Surveys (he also has the old Cashbox charts) and has compiled them in their original format and has put them in a series of volumes by decade (50's 60's 70' etc.) They're not cheap, but from my perspective, they are well worth the money. Flipping through the old charts is like taking a walk back through time. He also sells a myriad of music-radio books that go into greater detail about the performers. I enjoy comparing the old Billboard charts to the WLS surveys to see how Chicago's musical tastes differ (or not) to what was happening nationally.
Stan Williams 
The Whitburn books are the industry bible for national chart information.  The brand new edition of “Top Pop Singles, 1955 – 2018” should begin shipping any day now … and they contain an invaluable resource of information on what made up the charts back then.  (This is the 16th edition of this best selling item) 
Former DJ and radio programmer Ron Smith wrote similar books covering the WLS Charts for the ‘60’s, ‘70’s and ‘80s, giving you the Chicago perspective on this era.
WLS was one of the nation’s leaders when it came to programming … according to a number of inside sources, The Top 20 reflected actual sales, airplay and listener requests while the bottom 20 was more a case of seeing what would click with their audience.  Still, songs were hitting #1 in Chicago before they broke into the National Top 40 … so WLS (and, by this time, WCFL) were among the industry leaders. 
Ron sent me this ordering link from Amazon for all three of his WLS Chart Books ... as well as his book recapping all of the WCFL Charts!  
Gran copies for your collection NOW while you still can ... I have seen these books go out of print before!  (kk) 

Good morning, Kent:
I wanted to thank you for the considerable amount of coverage you’ve given the station the past couple days in both your blog and your e-blast.  We’ll be doing our social media posts and linking to your site several times over the next few days.
By the way, for those who have asked, our live streaming stations, WMYX 99.1-2 Milwaukee and WXZO  Burlington (www.967me.com), feature a playlist that’s 90-99% the same as what goes out over the air on 87.7FM Chicago.  The main differences are these ...
First, our affiliates generally air slightly fewer commercials than we do, so they need to fill an extra 3-5 minutes each hour with additional songs that don’t get played on 87.7.  Second, artists of a strictly local heritage (e.g., Steve Goodman, Bonnie Koloc) are not part of the syndication playlist.   As a result, when you listen to MeTVFM online, you’re getting pretty much the same songs in the same order that you would if you were listening over-the-air to 87.7FM in the Chicago area.
Have a good weekend.
Happy Summer!
Rick O’Dell
Program Director 

I heard nothing but good things about our little Summer of ’69 cross-promotion weekend … hopefully we can do more projects together in the future.  (You know I’ve got a suitcase filled with ideas!  Lol)
And I am SO happy that people all over the country can now enjoy the Me-TV-FM listening experience that we enjoy here in Chicago.  (Of course for MY tastes you could eliminate artists like Steve Goodman and Bonnie Koloc here as well … and the station would only grow stronger in the process!  Lol)
I even got Robert Feder to give our efforts a shout-out … much more of an everyday occurrence for YOU and Me-TV-FM than it is for me … this is probably only about the 3rd or 4th time he’s helped to promote MY work … so this turned into a real win/win for everybody!!!
Thanks again for everything … always a pleasure working with you!  (kk)

I’m still hoping those of us outside the Chicago area can someday enjoy WRME’s programming. Online streaming would allow many more listeners the pleasure of hearing what Chicago has been experiencing. Rick and the team are doing soft rock oldies right!
Guy Postlewait 
From what I’ve been told, Neal Sabin has absolutely NO intentions of streaming the Chicago feed … this is why I ran links to the Milwaukee / Radio.com access which, as Rick explains above, is virtually the same playlist.
Of course, I personally prefer the “Chicago Touch” that 87.7 FM brings to the table … many of our local heroes are featured regularly on the station … but it’s not looking likely that this is going to change … Neal seems pretty adamant about it.

Which makes me wonder …
Have there been any further negotiations with Comcast / Xfinity to bring Me-TV-FM back to THEIR line-up???
It sure was nice being able to leave that on while doing things around the house!  (kk)
UPDATE:  Per Neal Sabin at Me-TV-FM, there are no plans to bring Me-TV-FM back to the Comcast / Xfinity line-up at this time.

Have you seen the promos for the new Quentin Tarantino movie “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood?”
The whole thing takes place in 1969 (with yet another incredible Tarantino soundtrack) and melds fictional characters (played by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, just two members of an all-star cast) with real-life events, particularly the infamous Manson Family / Sharon Tate murders.
The film opens July 26th and is highly anticipated.  
You can check out the official trailer here:

kk …
Every time I hear this commercial, it makes me feel a little older.
I want to remember 1969 Joe Namath.

Coverage on Me-TV-FM this weekend inspired several new readers to check out our websites …

So it was nice to receive this email the other day … 

Hi, Kent —
I just discovered your “top 50 instrumentals” list, so this is to offer some decidedly some late nominations! 
The problem is that there are SO MANY GREAT instrumentals, that a top 50 list just isn’t sufficient.  I think these are some more that deserve mention as top instrumentals, but I don’t see them on either of the lists on that webpage:
The Dis-Advantages Of You by Brass Ring (1967) … I even have this on my “So Sixties it Hurts” playlist
The Lonely Surfer by Jack Nitzsche (1962)
Let's Go Away For Awhile by the Beach Boys (1966)
Because They're Young by Duane Eddy (1960)
Sylvia by Focus (1972)
Rock & Roll, Part 2 by Gary Glitter (1972)
Iron Butterfly Theme by Iron Butterfly (1968)
Blue Danube Waltz by Kasenetz Katz Singing Orchestral Cirkus (1969)
Sparks by the Who (1969)
I Robot by Alan Parsons Project (1977)
Outa-Space by Billy Preston (1972)
Hocus Pocus by Focus (1973)
Scarlett O’Hara by Lawrence Welk (1963)
Green Hornet Theme by Al Hirt (1966)
Joy by Apollo 100 (1972)
Baja by the Astronauts (1963)
Music To Watch Girls By by Bob Crewe Generation (1966)
Third Stone From The Sun by Jimi Hendrix (1967)
Wide Eyed Girl On The Wall by Small Faces (1969)
Underture by the Who (1969)
Dueling Banjos by Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandel (1973)
Popcorn by Hot Butter (1972)
OK, I’m pushing the definitions on a couple of these, but I like ‘em. :)
Just my two cents!
Kevin Killion  (the other KK)

Our Essential Classic Rock Tracks website is FINALLY working correctly now … so please stop by and pay it a visit if you haven’t already done so. 
And be sure to bookmark this page … as new suggestions will be posted throughout the week leading up to the June 30th Nominations Deadline.
After that, it’ll be MUST VIEWING on a daily basis as the Final Ballot begins posting on July 5th.
Every day you will have your chance to vote for your favorite and most deserving songs, which will be listed alphabetically over the course of the next several weeks.
Full details can be found here: 
And information will be updated again before the first ballot posts.  (kk)

Well, The Rolling Stones tour is officially off and running now, kicking off right here in Chicago last Friday Night (the 21st) with a concert at Soldier Field.  (Originally, the “No Filter” tour was supposed to END here … you may recall the late Chet Coppock’s opinion that The Stones had planned to do that by design so that they could officially announce their retirement right here in the city that they love.)
But now there’s already talk about another new album … so who knows how long these Stones may keep on Rolling!  (The Stones have not released an album of new material since 2005 … 2016’s “Blue And Lonesome” was a “covers” album.)  Jagger has gone on record as saying that he has “lots of stuff” prepared for a new release … and Keith Richards went so far as to suggest that a new Stones LP could come out later in 2019! 
Reports say the show got off to a bit of a shaky start … but that the band quickly regrouped and gave yet another exceptional performance, with Jagger seeming to have no lingering health issues whatsoever after his recent heart surgery.  (The man has GOT to be in tip-top shape to continue to be able to put on the high-energy performances he does each and every time he takes the stage.  I swear it’s like he runs a marathon in the course of every concert!)
In fact, Mick made little reference to the delay at all, other than stating early on that they “loved Chicago so much that they decided to open here instead of Miami.”  (Jagger even made reference to his love of the Italian Beef, a Chicago mainstay, much as the Philly Steak is in Philadelphia.)
… and, after performing “Angie” asking the crowd, “Ain’t it good to be aliiiiiiive???”
Here’s their Chicago set-list  (apparently there will be one song up for grabs in every city … here in Chi-Town, they performed “You Got Me Rocking” in what they refer to as the “Wild Card Spot.”

Chicago Set List:
“Street Fighting Man”
“Let’s Spend The Night Together”
“Tumbling Dice”
“Sad Sad Sad”
“You Got Me Rocking”
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
“Dead Flowers”
“Sympathy for the Devil”
“Honky Tonk Women”
“You Got The Silver”
“Before They Make Me Run”
“Miss You”
“Paint It Black”
“Midnight Rambler”
“Start Me Up”
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
“Brown Sugar”
“Gimme Shelter”

Led Zeppelin’s been all over the news again this past week …
First the copyright case surrounding “Stairway To Heaven” is being reopened again …
And then Facebook decided to block images of Zep’s “Houses Of The Holy” album cover (for what they described as "child nudity," I guess?!?!?) … but final rescinded that decision (caved to pressure when cited for idiotic behavior?) and are allowing it again.
(Some people just have NOTHING better to do with their time!!!)  The frickin’ LP has been a best seller for 45 years ... now all of a sudden, people can’t look at it anymore?!?!  Life as it currently exists in the Me-Too era just isn’t fun anymore … we have completely lost our perspective (and sense of humor) in the process and have just gone WAY too far overboard with all this shit lately.   
That’s not to say that there isn't some merit ias to much of what’s been said and done … there is … and we would certainly not condone this type of behavior under any circumstances … but when the focus of your day starts revolving around critiquing 45 year old Led Zeppelin album covers … and vintage Christmas tunes like “Baby It’s Cold Outside” ... I think it MAY be time to take a step back and just ask ourselves, “What the fuck are we doing here … and just what are we hoping to accomplish by doing it?!?!?”  (kk)

Got this from Carl Giammarse of The Buckinghams, who is out on tour as part of this year’s Happy Together Tour package …

Hey Kent,
Happy Together is going great! We’re about 17 dates into it, mostly East Coast, Florida and the south. We are out till June 30 and, after a little break, we start the West Coast. 
Great lineup!
Hey Carl!
Great to hear from you …
And thanks for the reminder that it’s Summer!  (The way the weather has been here this year it’s been hard to distinguish one season from the other lately … virtually NO Spring this year and even our “Summer Weather” has been somewhat questionable.  Reminds me of that old adage … In Chicago we only have two seasons:  Winter and Road Construction!!!”)
The Happy Together Tour hits OUR neck of the woods on August 16th when it plays at The Paramount Theatre in Aurora (an annual tradition) and we're hoping to see you guys there.

Other upcoming dates are as follows:

June 26th - South Shore Music Circus, Cohasset, MA
June 29th - Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, NY
June 30th - Saban Theater, Beverly Hills, CA
July 11th - Bob Hope Theatre, Stockton, CA
July 12th - The Smith Center, Las Vegas, NV
July 21st - Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, CA
August 1st - MGM Grand Detroit, Detroit, MI
August 3rd - Celeste Center, Columbus, OH
August 7th - Effingham Performance Center, Effingham, IL
August 10th - Little River Casino Resort, Manistee, MI
August 11th - Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, Northfield, OH
August 16th - Paramount Theatre, Aurora, IL
August 18th - Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, IL
August 24th - Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
This year’s line-up includes The Turtles (featuring Ron Dante again this year), Chuck Negron (formerly of Three Dog Night), Gary Puckett, and The Buckinghams, The Classics IV and The Cowsills. 
Simply put, you’re not going to get a better dose of ‘60’s Music than this!  Make your plans accordingly!  (kk)

The other day we ran a link to USA Today’s list of The Best 100 Songs Ever and sent along our congratulations to Tommy Roe (for “Dizzy”) and Jim Peterik (for “Eye Of The Tiger” … but neglected to give a shout out to The Box Tops, who finished at #26 on the list with “The Letter,” just one spot behind “Eye Of The Tiger.”
As such, we'd also like to extend nods to Melanie, The Association, ? and the Mysterians, The Beach Boys, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, John Kay and Steppenwolf, The Monkees, Paul Simon, Petula Clark and Nancy Sinatra, all of whom have participated with Forgotten Hits at some point in time and earned a spot on the list.  (kk)
You can view the complete list here:
On YouTube, check out Tom Meros interviews.  He interviews original members of Oldies Groups. 
Interesting history behind Jay & The Americans:
Jay # 1 = Jay Traynor
Jay # 2 = Jay Black
Jay # 3 = Jay Reinke (Current Jay)
If you can make it through Jay Traynor's history, you’ll get TWO great WOODSTOCK stories.
TEASE #1 = Jay was in charge of ticket sales at WOODSTOCK.
TEASE # 2 = Jay was there with his group (not The Americans).
Because of the crowd, performers were late arriving.
Jay tells his group, "I think they'll let us sing."
BUT -------------------------------

And here’s another link to Lou Christie’s “It Should Have Been A Hit” website:

With everything else that’s been going on around here lately, we missed wishing Brian Wilson a Happy Birthday last Thursday … so Belated Happy B-Day, Brian!

Meanwhile, FH Reader Phil Miglioratti just sent us this link to his podcast interview with Tom Smucker, author of “Why The Beach Boys Matter.”  Check it out!

Hi Kent ~
Part 2 of my conversation with Tom Smucker, author of “Why The Beach Boys Matter,“ is available now.  You can Listen. Here. Today. @ https://archive.org/details/01SurfsUpPodcastTomSmucker2

Dear Kent and FH Readers,
For those of you who remember and loved the sweet voice of Kathy Linden -- the singer of the national hits "Billy" from 1958 and "Goodbye, Jimmy, Goodbye" from 1959 -- I just found out about the following information.
After about 55 years "off the radar screen," she is alive and well and has a brand new website -- kathylinden.com -- and a brand new album called "The Love That's In My Heart," consisting of 22 recently-recorded inspirational, country and instrumental songs, all of which she wrote and played piano on. Her voice is as sweet and distinctive as ever but more mature! Details are on her website.
Ronnie Allen   
Thanks, Ronnie … happy to pass this info along.  And great to hear from you again. (kk)

We just received our inventory on the new Ides of March CD and DVD yesterday.  Very excited about this upcoming release. I am sure Jim and the guys have been in touch with you about it.
Clay Pasternack  

Rocky River, Ohio

We have been anxiously awaiting this release. 

Here’s an update from Jim (Peterik) …

Hi Kent –
The Ides Cd and double vinyl come out on Aug 16th. 
One music video for “Swagger” with Mark Farner will precede that and a second one for “Friends Like You” with Mindi Abair will Come next. 
The long form video / dvd will come sometime later in the year. 
Thx, Kent, for all you do for us and the whole music scene.
Because of you, they will not be Forgotten Hits!

You're slipping!
First you mentioned the Black Sox being from 1908, when it was 1919.
Then today you mention Fanny being the first all female rock band when Goldie and the Gingerbreads, fronted by Genya Raven preceded them by a number of years. 
I can only blame it on a lack of sleep … the other day I sent out a promo of weekend events that won’t actually run until July!!!
The Black Sox thing is obvious to me now … I knew it was 1919 … but I was thinking of the "EIGHT Men Out" who were charged with throwing the World Series … so while typing the year, it became 1908 instead of 1919.
As for the first all female rock band, I will admit to never having heard of Goldie and the Gingerbreads … (who?!?!) … so that’s technically not a mistake … just ignorance on my part (if, in fact, it's true ... they never charted so exactly who knew about them?  And what year would that have been?)
[Speaking of killer girl rock bands, check out Zepparella ... they'll be appearing at The Arcada Theatre on June 28th!  I might have to go to this one!]

Between keeping a daily flow of Forgotten Hits going, promoting events like the Me-TV-FM Summer of ’69 Weekend, working a 55 hour a week full time job, tabulating what now officially amounts to over 729,000 votes and launching a brand new Classic Rock Essentials website, I’d have to be the first to admit it’s all catching up with me.
(On the other hand, I HAVE tried to keep my wits and my charm around me in SOME fashion …
Our plans to go to Colorado this past weekend to see Paige in her starring role in “The Taming Of The Shrew” at the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre fell thru for a number of reasons. 
As a consolation prize, I treated Frannie to Denver omelets at Baker’s Square … and we drove there listening to John Denver on the way … and then came home to watch “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead.”  But the REAL bonus was spotting a car with Colorado license plates in the Baker’s Square parking lot … I don’t think I could have planned THAT one no matter how hard I tried!!!)

Paige in "The Taming Of The Shew" ... naturally SHE'S The Shrew ... playing to EXCELLENT reviews in Breckenridge, Colorado ...

(sorry ... proud Papa!)